Our mediation from tonight’s Blue Christmas service; based on Psalm 42.
“My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, ‘where is your God?’”
These words from Psalm 42 are an invitation to us tonight, to feel the conflicting emotions that flood our hearts when the joy around us doesn’t match the turmoil within us.
In Advent, we anticipate the coming of Christ; yet in this season of hope, peace, love, and joy our hearts wonder if God is really near.
Tonight we acknowledge, together with the Psalmist, the pain of loss and the anguish of grief.
We say to God, “this hurts.” “Where are you?” “How long?” And God hears us.
Through our tears, we look upon the blurry flames of the candles in the Advent wreath; tender reminders of Christ’s light in our deepest darkness and yes, of God with us.
In our pain we have come, burdened by the griefs we carry with us. In God’s grace, we experience hope; a healing balm for hurting hearts.
Sometimes, this hope seems elusive, and that is painful. And sometimes our loved ones can’t seem to find their hope, and that’s excruciating.
What about those times when weeping lasts through the night, and into the morning, too? How do we find hope when despair looms over us, tears overwhelm us, and sadness threatens to devour us?
What does it look like to carry grief and hope in the same heart? To speak it in the same prayer? How do we look for hope, find it, and hold onto it in the midst of our grief?
We weep for those whom we have loved
We lament those dreams we have held and lost,
We mourn the losses we’ve experience in life, permitting ourselves to grieve.
When a comforting hand reaches out for ours, we grasp it, readily, knowing the presence of God is very near.
When a loving friend comes to visit with a meal, shares it with us, and sits with us in the ashes of sorrow, we taste and feel and see in their generosity of love, the generous love of a God who sees our pain; the presence of a God who sits with us too.
When lost dreams are reimagined, rekindled and given new purpose, we learn through that process that God continues to dream and imagine with us.
In the middle of the night, when we lie awake with our thoughts, our pain, our grief; the still small voice of God is there to lull us back to sleep. “I know it hurts. Fear not. I am here. I love you.”
Tonight we remember our pain, and we remember our hope. We remember our Christ and the peace he brings to us.
We remember the promise of Emanuel, God with us. And in the somber silence, in the glow of the flames of peace, hope and love, God speaks to us: “I know it hurts.” “Don’t be afraid.” “I’m here.” “I love you.”
In the gentle coos of the tiny babe, the lullaby that Mary sings, in the hymns the angels sing, the promise rings out “here is our God, here is our hope.”
Please join me in prayer.
God, who is with us, come and be our Emanuel.
In our grief, be our hope. Remind us that in silence and in chaos, in the light and in the dark you are there.
Whether we feel it or not, your presence is with us. Remind us, caring God, on our hardest days that you are there, that we are held, that we are loved.
We hope in you; for we shall again praise you, our help and our God. Amen